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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Perspective: Empathizing with Uvalde

A+memorial+dedicated+to+the+victims+of+Robb+Elementary+School+in+Uvalde%2C+TX+on+June+2%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Benjamin Hirsch

A memorial dedicated to the victims of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX on June 2, 2022.

“I drove down here to share this moment and to grieve with this community,” said Gary, a man from Kerrville, Texas. I met him outside the Uvalde Courthouse while standing before mounds of flowers, stuffed animals, candles and loving notes, which all rested before white wooden crosses bearing the names of the recently departed. 
The tragedy that befell Uvalde, Texas is an event which will not be forgotten, and the souls of those who have gone before us will always be remembered. It is hard to not feel heavy when such devastating news comes in. People search for the right words, but they are not easily found. People want to lend a helping hand, but may not be sure of what to do. Nevertheless, amid the helpless melancholy, is a steady light, reminding us of a way we can all give of ourselves to others in this trying time — to share moments with others and to grieve and mourn with all.
I visited Uvalde on June 2 and was deeply taken by the memorial in the center of town. When I walked up to the first cross, a breath of awe came rushing in and a sigh of sorrow flowed out. My heart was reverently touched. My father, who came with me, immediately began to cry. Watching this event unfold on the news is one thing, but to experience its aftermath in person has a much larger impact. There were signs and notes everywhere from family and friends, and even from other towns speaking of their love and support for those lost . A banner read “San Antonio Mourns With You” with the image of folded hands on either side of the sign. Police from all over the state, including our own College Station Police Department, came to Uvalde to patrol the town. Visitors from across the country came to the memorial, not just to witness the shooting’s aftermath, but to console the afflicted.
As I walked around the memorial, I struck up conversations with several of the visitors. Like me, they came to be a part of something beyond themselves, to be a part of the community which has since formed unbreakable bonds and has been given divine strength to bear this trial together, as one.
“This is small town America,” Gary said. “The fact that President Biden came down here must mean a lot to the people.” 
Though Gary’s hometown of Kerrville is a two hour drive from Uvalde, the weight from an event like this is felt from any distance, but no distance could keep him from sharing this moment with the community.
Another man I spoke with was from California. He was taking a train home that got held up because the tracks were washed out, so in his compassion, he drove from Alpine, Texas just to be with the community for the day. In these times, Texans never fail to come together to offer their help to those who are in need. 
As I continued to walk around the memorial, a man in a UPS Inc. uniform came up to me and offered me bottled water. 

“What are you doing here?” I asked. 

“I saw a need,” he responded. 

The UPS Inc. employee was from Dallas and was sent to help with the deliveries in the area. During his off time, and on his own accord, he decided to pass out cold water to people visiting the memorial. A simple act of kindness that displays the enormity of his charitable heart. He was not alone in his service. Others joined in serving the community in their own ways. A police officer from Pharr, Texas was helping patrol the city, a woman from Kentucky was providing spiritual support, an Alabama State Trooper came as a chaplain to console the afflicted and countless others were present, providing support as they could.

Around the memorial were tents full of reporters waiting to exhume any bit of agony from those who were affected. It was obvious that the town was feeling the gruesome impact of this travesty, and no interview could soothe the sorrow. The many questions in my mind slowly eroded away as my heart began to recognize the true need that was present — prayers for the departed, support for the community and remembrance in all of our own hearts.

Delfina Estrada, born in Uvalde in 1941, remembers growing up in town. She was overcome with anguish as she grieved for Uvalde. She highlighted the situation best with her heartfelt words of wisdom. 
“The community needs to know that they are heard, and [we] need to listen to those people because they lived it,” Estrada said. “The fact that people are going down there and taking food and stuffed animals, I think is a really good thing. I think it’s a very human thing to do and very important to the people who live there that somebody cares enough to take the time to go down there and talk to them. It can never bring their children back, but it gives them comfort.”

Comfort goes a long way in a time like this. The overwhelming strength of the community will help all of the afflicted people endure this most dreadful hardship. For those who want to make a difference, you can embrace this suffering too. All is needed and all will be heard. 
 

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